5 Free Knitting Patterns for Shrugs

knitting patterns for shrugs

Looking for free knitting patterns for shrugs? These five are selected for their simple design and use of different textured stitches.

knitting patterns for shrugs

According to Wikipedia, a shrug is a cropped, cardigan-like garment with short or long sleeves cut in with the body. It is typically knitted for women. It is worn as the outermost layer of an outfit, with a full shirt, tank top, or dress beneath.

I have noticed that they are usually made up of simple rectangles or squares with part of the edges seamed up to make up the opening for the arms.

Since they are rectangles or squares, creativity is focused on the textured stitches chosen and the way they are made up.

Rolled Collar Shrug

Image source: Vogue Knitting 2003

Designed by Marcia Cleary and appears in Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2008.

The Rolled Collar shrug is a fitted shrug that is great for pairing with a smart sleeveless dress.

It is knitted as one rectangular piece from sleeve edge to sleeve edge. Marcia uses alternate bands of stockinette and reverse to stockinette to achieve a horizontal ribbed look.

The pattern is available as a pdf delivered via email. Request for it at https://store.vogueknitting.com/p-3241-rolled-collar-shrug.aspx

Tanja Steinbach’s Shrug

Designed by Tanja Steinbach, this beautiful shrug is cosy, warm and totally trendy.

Using 5mm needles and a tension gauge of 14 stitches to 26 rows of 10cm, it is certainly a fast project and also suitable for beginners.

This shrug is basically a large rectangle. Moss stitch for the body and ribbing for the collar and frontal band.

It is a downloadable PDF available at https://schachenmayr.com/en/free-patterns/shrug-s10067


Image source: Gina Bonomo at Ravelry

Designed by Gina Bonomo.

Another shrug knitted from cuff to cuff. The texture stitch for the cuff is called Rich man’s garter stitch. I have never heard of this type of garter stitch before and I am quite excited to have found it.

A Ravelry downloadable PDF available at https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/verdant

Myciena Bolero

The basic shape of the Myciena shrug is squarish rather than rectangular. Knitted from bottom edge to the top edge. Made up as shown in the diagram below.

This way of seaming gives the shrug a longer and looser back portion.

A downloadable PDF available at https://www.willowyarns.com/product/myciena+bolero+free+download.do

Cuffed Dolman Shrug

Designed by Lorna Miser.

This shrug is knitted from cuff to cuff. Skills needed including increases and decreases into each stitch, picking up stitches, and knitting in the round using circular needles.

Take the opportunity to learn the elongated garter stitch with this shrug. I think it is pretty straightforward. Knit for 4 rows. For row 5, wrap yarn twice for each stitch knitted. For row 6, knit each stitch and drop the extra wrap. Repeat these 6 rows.

It is definitely more complicated than the Rolled Collar Shrug and Tanja Steinbach cosy shrug.

It is a downloaded PDF available at https://www.yarnspirations.com/row-en/caron-cuffed-dolman-shrug–s/CAK0126-007078V.html. A kit is available too.

7 Free Knitting Patterns for Slippers

free knitting patterns for slippers

Looking for free knitting patterns for slippers? The first five slipper patterns use garter stitch because it produces a thick squishy texture.

free knitting patterns for slippers

Three of the patterns are Youtube tutorials without any written instructions. I think they are quite easy to follow so I decided to include them. I may transcribe them later when I have time. 🙂

Simple garter stitch slippers

Image source: Hanna Leväniemi at Ravelry

Designed by Hanna Levaniemi.

I tried this pattern and really enjoyed it. The slipper starts out like a garter stitch square with a little shaping for the toe. The heel is formed by seaming up the cast-on edge. I think I can substitute this with a Turkish cast on and continue with knitting back and forth.

The instructions could include a few more pictures on how the slippers are seamed together.

My version of Simple Garter Stitch Slipper

Seam up the toe and crochet the 2 sides of the squares together to form the instep. Quick and fun.

This pattern is available at https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/simple-garter-stitch-slippers

Slippers with 5 leaves

Image source: Vi0lett at Ravelry

Designed by Sercan Senay.

This pair of slippers is quite similar to the simple garter stitch slippers. The difference lays in the shaping of the toes. This one is done using short rows.

This pattern is available at http://stitchland.blogspot.com.tr/2014/11/yaprakl-patik-orelim-mi.html

South Marysburgh slippers

Designed by Sam Lamb.

Unlike the previous slipper patterns which are in garter stitch, this one is in stockinette. I like the shape a lot. It requires the knitter to know how to pick up stitches and knit short rows.

The instructions were surprisingly easy and it is a quick knit. Gauge is important. Do take time to check gauge.

My version of South Marysburgh Slippers

This pattern is available at http://samlamb.blogspot.com/2014/11/south-marysburgh-slippers.html

Seamless Salomas slippers

Image source: Megan Williams at Ravelry

Designed by Susan Busbee and Megan Williams.

This pair of slippers is made up of a combination of ribbing and garter stitch. Easy to knit and really stretchy.

This free downloadable pdf is available at https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/seamless-salomas-slippers

Free Knitting Patterns for Slippers Video Tutorials

Cotton garter stitch slippers

Designed by the Pattern Family.

Many knitters learnt how to knit using Youtube. I found this video tutorial for a garter stitch slippers. The difference between this one and the first two is the way the garter stitch is used.

Unfortunately, the designer did not write down the instructions. I may transcribe it if I can find some time. 😛

Garter stitch slippers with a crochet edging

Transforming garter stitch rectangles into sweet slippers.

Again, I did not find any written instructions for this video tutorial but there is an English transcription for the video.

How to Knit a Bunny with these 10 Knitting Patterns

how to knit a bunny

How to knit a bunny you ask? Learn with these 10 free knitting patterns for rabbits.

how to knit a bunny

Start with a pattern which is basically a knitted square with carefully placed stitches. Next, 2 or 3 patterns cleverly shaped using increases, decreases and short rows. Then we have the classic ones with all parts individually knitted up and put together.

There are patterns with accessories like caps, dress, poncho, jumpers, carrots and balloons. All opportunities to make something quick and cute.

One Square Stuffed Bunny

Designed by Gina Michele, this bunny is a knitted square. A cleverly stitched triangle using durable yarn pulled up to create the head and ears. Gina provided pictures of how the triangle is stitched.

Sew up the seams for the body and bottom. Attach a pom pom as a tail. Totally doable.

A free web-based pattern available at http://gina-michele.com/2016/05/one-square-stuffed-bunny-knitting-pattern-2.html

Henry’s Bunny

Image source: Ravelry

Designed by Sara Elizabeth Kellner. The body is knitted up using short rows and increases.

The pattern calls short rows and increases for the body. To knit the head, stitches are picked up from the neckline cast-on edge. I think a provisional cast-on might be easier than picking up stitches from a small neckline.

The ears are tricky which is why designer took pictures and with step-by-step instructions. The model bunny is not very big: the size of my palm. It could be made larger if bulky yarn and bigger needles are used.

Overall, not an easy pattern for a beginner.

A free Ravelry PDF download available at https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/henrys-bunny#

Knitterbees’ Miffy

Image source: knitterbees.blogspot.com

Designed by knitterbees, this bunny knitting pattern features bunny ears that are perky and straight rather than big and floppy.

There is a gap in the pattern. It didn’t say how you should attach the head to the body. The usual method is probably to sew the head and the body together.

A knitter mentioned that she picked up stitches from the head to knit the body. Not a bad idea. Or we can use a provisional cast-on for the head so you get live stitches later to continue with the body.

The pattern includes Miffy’s dress and a balloon. It is available at http://knitterbees.blogspot.com/2012/03/miffy-and-her-balloon-plush-toy-pattern.html

Susan’s Miffy

Image source: Susan Chang at Ravelry

Susan Chang designed another version of Miffy. The construction is similar to Knitterbees although the increases of the head are different.

Knit the head and divide for the ears, pick up for the body and split for the legs.

A free web-based pattern available at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bunny-in-a-blue-dress

Bunny with Carrot

Designed by Val Pierce and collected in a book called Knitted Rabbits. The book has 20 cuddly bunny knitting patterns. This one with the bunny is my favourite. I like that it is more realistic yet toy enough for a kid.

The recommended yarn is a luxury baby alpaca. This gives it a furry coat as soft as silk. It uses a yarn colour change to mark out the nose and belly of the bunny.

Unlike the patterns before this, the parts for this bunny are knitted separately and sewn together later. There is quite a fair bit of sewing as the parts are knitted flat initially.

Val gave sufficient information for the making up. The position of the seams, the placement of the parts for attaching. This definitely helps with making the finishing of the bunny more polished.

A free web-based pattern available at https://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/bunny-with-carrot

Sunny Bunny

Designed by Sarah Youde, Sunny bunny is a kid-friendly cuddly bunny.

This pattern, like Bunny with Carrot, has different parts. I personally prefer knitting a larger single piece with shaping. However, sometimes, you just cannot avoid knitting many parts in order to make a nice toy.

Sarah included instructions for a dress and a jumper. Obviously for a girl bunny and a boy bunny. Sarah left it to the knitter to decide a colour combination for Sunny.

A free Ravelry PDF download available at https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sunny-bunny

Erik Easter Bunny

Don’t you think Erik is just so cute with its big fat bottom? Millamia designed a truly attractive cuddly softie.

The body and legs are in 2 parts: the front and back. Carefully placed markers helped to line them up for sewing. Parts included the head, arms, ears, belly patch, and poncho.

Millamia recommends stitching up the parts using the mattress stitch. There is a photo tutorial for mattress stitch at the Millamia website.

A free Ravelry PDF download available at https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/erik-easter-bunny

Lizzie Rabbit Knitting Pattern

Rae Blackledge designed Lizzie for little girls. Look how sweet she is. I can see her in a little tea party out in the garden.

The recommended yarn is Willow Yarns Quill which is actually too thin for this project. Hold double strands at the same time to achieve gauge, says the pattern.

The good thing it is easy to substitute the yarns. The pattern is in a number of rows rather than measurements. If you use thicker yarn, you will end up with a bigger Lizzie.

Skills needed include short rows and knit in the round. Not that suitable for beginner knitters.

A downloadable PDF pattern from Willow Yarns is available at https://www.willowyarns.com/product/W00239.do

Giant Arm Knit Bunny

I have never done arm knitting before but this giant bunny looks really interesting. The stitches look like it is stockinette stitch so it should be quite similar.

Designed by Anne Weil, the arm knitting part is quite straightforward. The body resembles a trapeze shape. The pattern has good detailed instructions and pictures to show how to make up the bunny.

Before investing in super bulky yarn, it may be helpful to knit this in normal size yarn to get the hang of the making up section.

The pattern is a free ISSUU document available at http://www.sweetpaulmag.com/crafts/giant-arm-knit-bunny-by-anne-weil

Juicy Fruit Bunny

Image source: petitepurls.com

Designed by Aine Marriott. These knitted bunnies look like they are doing jumping jacks.

The body is a single knitted piece. Start at the legs, body, arms, and head. Knit the ears and hats separately and attach them to the body.

The colourful fruit-inspired hats are the highlights of the pattern. Five hat designs to choose from: apple, leaf, orange, strawberry, and pineapple.

This is a free web-based pattern available at https://web.archive.org/web/20140906013919/http:/www.petitepurls.com/Summer11/summer2011_p_fruit.html

Make Knitted Owls From These 7 Owl Knitting Patterns

knitted owls

Looking for knitted owls? These 7 owl knitting patterns are arranged from easy to advanced.

knitted owls

Owls are wise animals and are favourite knitted toys for children. Knowing how to knit a few could prove useful for knitters who have children to knit for. What am I saying? Even adults love owls. 🙂

The first two patterns are knitted flat in one piece and sewn up. The rest are knitted in the round in a variety of ways.

I like knitted owls because there are fewer parts to work with. Some of the patterns like Amanda’s stuffy owl only 1 piece.

The patterns are arranged according to the level of difficulty. If you start from the first pattern and work your way down (yes, I believe you can try out all 7 patterns as they are all quick knits), you shall become an expert owl knitter.

1. Amanda’s Stuffy Owl

Designed by Amanda Berry, Stuffy owl is knitted in one piece, folded in half and sewn up.

The eyes and beak are added after the knitting is done using the duplicate stitch, also known as Swiss darning. This technique gives the features a pop-up effect. I like. The colourwork chart is included.

Other knitting skills you need to know include: stockinette stitch, increase 2 by knitting into front and back (KBF) and decrease by knitting 2 together, and mattress stitch.

The pattern is well written with helpful instructions for making up. For example, Amanda tells you to sew up using mattress stitch and that the cast-off and cast-on edges is the bottom of the owl. She presented pictures of the bottom and side seams of the finished project so that you know what to expect.

You need to sign up for an account with lovecrafts in order to download the free PDF pattern.

Get the free pattern at https://www.lovecrafts.com/en-gb/p/stuffy-owl-knitting-pattern-by-amanda-berry

2. Easy Plush Owl

Plush Owl Knitting Pattern

Designed by Gina Michele, Easy Plush Owl is knitted using Lionbrand Wool-Ease Thick and 8mm needle. The main body is knitted flat in one piece, folded in half and sewn up. It seems Gina “borrowed” from Amanda’s Stuffy Owl to create the body for Easy Plush Owl. I say this because the instructions are exactly the same.

However, that’s where the similarity ends. Easy Plush Owl’s eyes, beak and wings are knitted separately. Eyes are crocheted circles, although they can be knitted (if you know how) or cut out felt.

The cast on row is missing from the pattern but it should be obvious since the first row says to purl 15 stitches. 🙂

Gina did not say how to sew up the seams which I think could affect the shaping and finishing of the owl.

Other than that, this is an easy and quick knit.

This is a free web-based pattern available at https://gina-michele.com/2018/05/easy-plush-owl-knitting-pattern.html.

3. Owl Puffs

image source: retrolemon at Ravelry

Designed by Jenna Krupar, owl puffs are tiny birds knitted in the round. Jenna used worsted weight yarn with 5mm double pointed or circular needles.

These knitted owls look simple to make but you need to know how to increase by knitting in the front and back and the Kitchener graft stitch to close the top.

The pattern is well-written. Why? Because it is short and sweet. Very easy to follow.

It is a free Ravelry PDF pattern available at https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/owl-puffs

4. Big Snowy Owl

When Purl Soho called Snowy Owl big, they meant it. This is a humongous project, as big as an adult cat. It requires Super Bulky yarn and US size 15 needles. I tried knitting this with a worsted weight yarn. It still works.

It is knitted in the round. The beginning increases is similar to the owl puffs but Snowy has a longer body and clever shaping for the ears. It is knitted in a single colour and used a simple textured stitch to give the owl’s body more interest.

The eyes are knitted circles and attached to the body afterwards. I find it a tad challenging placing them in the right place so that they would not look funny. The beak is knitted by picking up stitches directly between the eyes.

It was a little awkward in the beginning but I got the hang of it soon.

The pattern is well-written. There are even questions and answers at the comment section which are helpful.

A free web-based pattern with a print-friendly feature available at https://www.purlsoho.com/create/2011/09/22/whits-knits-big-snowy-owl/

5. Little Black Owl

Designed by Katknits, Little Black Owl is basically a knitted ball with felt circles and black buttons as eyes using chunky weight yarn and 5mm needles.

The body is really quite straightforward especially if you already know how to knit in the round and do increases and decreases. The wings are knitted separately and attached. The ears are stitches picked up from the head and knitted in shape.

The eyes are cut out felt and black buttons. The beak is yellow felt. These are glued on to the body. This is also the only finishing I do not like. I think they will fall off if children play with it.

The remedy is simple though. Just stitched the felt pieces in place instead of glue and use child-safety eyes.

This is a free web-based pattern available at http://www.justcraftyenough.com/2011/09/project-little-black-owl/

6. Cordell The Owl

Image source: knit-a-zoo at ravelry.com

Cordell is knitted in the round from bottom to head. The recommended yarn is Ondina from Mafil, a type of boucle yarn. Cordell has a ruffled look because of it. The needle sizes are 3.5mm and 4.5mm.

The cast-on and shaping of the body are similar to the other knit-in-the-round patterns here. The difference is the way the eyes, beak and wings are made up. Last but not least Cordell has feet and spectacles.

It is a free Ravelry PDF download available at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cordell-the-owl

7. Bubo

Designed by Corinne Fourcade, Bubo looks more like an owl-inspired cushion rather than a knitted toy owl.

The pattern contains instructions for 2 sizes and Corinne interspersed the instructions for both throughout the pattern. I am not sure that is a good idea because knitters might not realize they have just followed instructions for the wrong size.

Bubo looks simple but the gauge is given and, I suspect, needs to be followed. It also called for the Turkish cast-on which is a way to create a seamless cast-on. It is commonly used for toe-up socks where the cast-on stitches are fewer.

This pattern calls for a Turkish cast-on of 76 or 150 stitches (small and large Bubo). That’s a lot of stitches to manage. Challenging then.

Petitepurls.com is no longer an active site. This pattern is a free web-based pattern but is already archived at https://web.archive.org/web/20130724092901/http://petitepurls.com:80/Summer11/summer2011_p_bubo.html

9 Dog Sweaters Knitting Patterns Free On The Internet

dog sweater knitting patterns

Looking for free dog sweaters knitting patterns? This collection is created either in a single piece or in 2 pieces: back and under-piece and then sewn together.

dog sweaters knitting patterns

Why knit your own dog sweater?

Because it will fit your dog snuggly. You do of course have to measure your dog. This webpage shows you how to do so one picture at a time.

The patterns I selected here offers both methods. Try both and see which one you like. Knitters who hate sewing up will most likely prefer the one-piece patterns, but they need to like knitting in the round.

Juno’s Dog Jumper

Designed by Alice Neal for her dog, Juno.

This dog jumper measures 26cm around the neck and 41cm around the chest. It is 40cm long, from neck to bottom.

The recommended yarn is Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunk, with a suggested tension of 15 stitches for 10cm.

The pattern is knitted in the round. Begin at the neck with a K1 P1 ribbing and stockinette stitch for the body. The body shaping is created using increases and increases at the belly portion followed by another K1 P1 ribbing for the hem. The openings for the front legs are made by casting off and casting on prescribed stitches.

I think the design is quite straightforward and simple.

The pattern is available at https://www.lovecrafts.com/en-gb/c/article/knit-with-alice-the-juno-jumper

Bucalicious Dog Sweater

Designed by Machelle of Chopped Tomatoes.com.

This dog sweater is worked in the round and knitted from the top down in one piece. The sweater measures 24-29cm at the neck, 37-47cm at the chest and 26-30cm along the back.

Recommended yarn: 8ply double knitting/light worsted weight yarn.

The pattern is available at http://www.chopped-tomatoes.com/blog/bucalicious-sweater

Bernat Hoodie Dog Coat

The pattern offers 4 sizes fitting dogs with the chest measuring 10, 13, 16 or 24 inches.

Recommended yarn is Bernat Super Value or Bernat Berella.

Recommended tension is 18 sts and 24 rows for 4 inches in stocking stitches using 5mm needles.

I find the instruction in the pattern can be clearer. A beginner or novice knitter may have some difficulties understanding it. For example, I do not like instructions written like this:

"Proceed in stocking st, inc 1 st at each end of needle on 3rd and every row to 50 (60-72-104) sts, then on following alt rows to 54 (68-82-122) sts"

I had the urge to re-write it once I worked out what it was saying (I just might do that).

Having said that, it is such a cute dog sweater. It is the first cute one I have seen with a hood.

The pattern is available at https://www.yarnspirations.com/bernat-hoodie-dog-coat/BRK0713-006290M.html

Linda Hurst’s Mock Cable Jack Russell Sweater

Designed by Linda Hurst.

Recommended yarn is Knit Picks City Tweed Aran/Heavy Worsted Yarn

Recommended gauge is 20 Stitches = 10 cm on size 8 needles

The dog sweater is knitted flat and then seamed together. The leg openings are created by splitting the piece into 3 parts where they are worked on separately and then rejoined. It features a mock cable running down the back of the sweater.

The Ravelry PDF downloadable pattern is available at https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mock-cable-jack-russell-sweater

Striped Dog Sweater

Designed by Louise of handylittleme, this pattern offers 3 sizes. The length of the sweater excluding the collar is 29cm for small, 34 cm for medium, and 44cm for large.

Start knitting from the collar, divide the stitches for the back and belly. The edging of the leg holes, belly and back edgings are strengthened by crocheting.

The pattern is available at https://www.handylittleme.com/dog-sweater-knitting-pattern/

Puppy Sweater Knitting Pattern

Designed by Louise of https://www.handylittleme.com/ for her little puppy rescue.

Even though this sweater is tiny, it is knitted in 2 pieces and seamed up. It features a ribbing collar and stockinette stitch for the body.

This web-based pattern is available at https://www.handylittleme.com/free-knitting-pattern-for-a-puppy-sweater/

Animal Lover Dog Sweater

The pattern is designed to fit 2 sizes: 10-18 pounds and 18-29 pounds. The finished length is 19 cm and 48.5cm. Neck measures 15.5cm and 39.5cm, and chest measures 22.5cm and 57cm.

Recommended gauge: 20 sts by 18 rows = 10cm in stranded colourwork with 5mm needles with 2 strands of yarn held together.

The pattern calls for 2 pieces. The top piece is knitted in colourwork while the underbelly is knitted in solid colours.

The colourwork is charted in 2 sizes.

This downloadable pdf pattern is available at http://www.lionbrand.com/knitting-pattern-the-animal-lover-dog-sweater.html but requires you to log in.

Marty’s Knitted Dog Coat

Designed by Nicola of NixNeedles.co.uk, this dog coat is knitted in one piece with 2 fasteners: one at the collar and the other at the belly.

I think this is more like a cape than a coat. I’m not sure it will keep a dog warm as the belly is not covered. Nevertheless, the construction is interesting.

This web-based pattern is available at http://www.nixneedles.co.uk/Hobbies/Knitting/Knitting-Patterns-Designs/Pet-Accessories/Martys-Knitted-Dog-Coat

Button Up Dog Sweater

Designed by Anna Tillman, this handsome ribbed sweater has instructions for 5 sizes.

Recommended yarn is Rowan All Seasons Cotton. Suggested tension is 24 sts by 25 rows to 10cm over ribbed pattern using 5mm needles.

I find the instructions a little hard to read because the text is too closely written together. The picture takes up nearly half the page and the instructions squeezed into the other half.

I think this pattern is more suitable for a more seasoned knitter.

This downloadable pdf pattern is available at http://web.archive.org/web/20111125083705/http://a.allaboutyou.com/pattern/40998.pdf

Books on Dog Sweaters Knitting Patterns

I found these 2 books at the public library. Both authors’ first name is Debbie.

Woolly woofers by Debbie Bliss

Each design is knitted for 2 dogs to show off their versatility. None of the patterns is knitted in a single piece. All require seaming.

Sweaters for dogs by Debbie Humphreys

Debbie has a basic design structure to almost all her dog sweater patterns. A top panel and an under panel are knitted separately and then joined together at the collar.

It is a good practice book for that committed knitter who wants to master dog sweaters.

The book contains good photos of finished projects. Instructions are clear with helpful illustrations of the pieces.

Highly recommended.

How to Knit Socks Successfully By Avoiding These 3 Mistakes

how to knit socks

Learn how to knit socks first before attempting your first sock knitting pattern. Avoid making the mistakes I did.

how to knit socks

My first knitted sock is so big it can fit Big Foot. Sock knitting fail! I am the sort of person that will dive into a knitting pattern straight away instead of learning the basics first from books or tutorials.

I made a few fundamental mistakes. Learn how to knit socks successfully by avoiding the mistakes I made.

Mistake 1: Not knowing the anatomy of a sock

I do not know the names of the different parts of a sock. Many sock knitting patterns do not explain what the parts are. The designer assumes you know.

Heel flap may be easy to figure out, but gusset and instep are not. It used to annoy me quite a bit until I came across a diagram for the anatomy of a sock.

Now I know that a sock has a cuff, leg, heel flap, instep, gusset, sole and toe.

Image source: https://knitting.today/anatomy-knitted-socks/

Mistake 2: Not measuring my feet

I did not know that I need to measure my feet. I just went with the standard size.

Now I know that by measuring my feet, I can then match it to the most appropriate size.

Here is how to measure the foot.

  1. Wrap the measuring tape around the widest part of the foot snuggly but not tightly for the width of the foot
  2. Place the ruler on the floor, line the back of the heel with the 0 and note the length of the longest toe. This gives you the length of your foot
  3. Place the ruler along the wall with the 0 on the floor. Position the leg against the ruler and measure the height up to the ankle or the calf. You may need to measure the circumference of the calf

Or watch this video.

Mistake 3: Not checking my tension or gauge

The legs of my handknitted socks do not stay up. Some knitters I know said that this is quite common. It happened to them too.

When I read the book Custom Socks, author Kate mentioned the way to resolve loose cuffs is to knit with negative ease. This is approximately 10% of the actual foot size. It means that the knitted sock should be about 1 inch or 2.5cm smaller than leg or foot circumference. And 0.5 inch or 1.3cm shorter than the foot length.

This can only be calculated if I know my knitting tension. After measuring my feet and working out the sock circumference and length, I must check gauge. By checking gauge, I can calculate the number of stitches to cast on.

This video is a bit long but is very comprehensive about how to check gauge. I totally recommend it if you are not familiar with knitting gauge.

Top-down or Toe-up Socks?

There are basically 2 ways to knit socks.

Top-down which is to knit from the cuff down to the toe. Toe-up is to knit from the toe up to the cuff.

I believe the top-down method is more common and more popular. But it is good to know how to do both.

How to knit socks top-down

Start with a flexible cast-on to create the edge of the cuff. What is a flexible cast-on? Choose from one of 18 cast-on techniques here.

Join in the round to start knitting the cuff using 2-knit, 2-purl ribbing. The cuff is usually around 2 inches long.

The leg comes next. Knit to the desired length. Then split the stitches in half for the heel and instep. The heel is the bottom and the instep is the top of the sock.

Work the heel stitches first by knitting back and forth in rows to shape the heel flap.

Pick up stitches for the gussets along the heel flap. Rejoin with the other half of the stitches for the instep.

Knit the foot in the round.

I find picking stitches for the gussets challenging. Holes always form. Eventually, I learned how to avoid it. I wished I had read Kate Atherly’s Custom Socks. It has a very detailed section on how to pick up the gusset stitches and not create holes. I would have saved a lot of time and frustrations if I have learnt this first.

Finally, shape the toe by decreasing at each side of the foot. Decrease every other round until half of the original stitches. Then, decrease every round until 8 or 10 stitches remain. Close the toe by gathering the stitches up or using Kitchener graft. I prefer the graft.

How to knit socks toe-up

Cast-on for the top of the toe using either Judy’s Magic cast-on or the Turkish cast-on.

Increase stitches at each side of the toe until you have the desired number of stitches. Work the foot until the desired length.

Increase stitches at each side of the foot to form the gussets. Use short rows to turn the heel. Knit the heel flap while decreasing the gussets stitches.

Continue working the leg until 2 inches or 5 cm short of the desired length. Change to ribbing for the cuff. Bind off with a flexible bind off.

What Types of Knitting Needles are Good for Sock Knitting?

You can use double-pointed needles, sock circular needles ((8-inch/20 to 23cm) or long circular needles (60-inch/152cm) to knit socks. They have advantages and disadvantages.

The division of the stitches on the needles differ between circular needles and double-pointed needles. For circular needles, divide the stitches equally. For double-pointed needles, divide equally amongst the number of needles.

Double pointed needles can be fiddly and ladders may form in the knitting because of the transition from needle to needle. Two long circular needles can be floppy. Short circular needles need getting used to because the length of the needles is quite short.

My personal favourite is using long circular needles and the magic loop technique for knitting in-the-round projects.

Stitches are divided in half on the circular needles. The front of the sock on one needle and the back of the sock on the other needle. I find this easier to manage than 4 or 5 double-pointed needles.

Using long circular needles also allow both socks to be knitted at the same time. No worries about the second sock syndrome.

What Types of Yarns Are Good for Socks?

As I live in the tropics, I have always avoided wool. I find them itchy.

But according to Kate of Custom Socks, superwash wool is the best yarn material for socks. They are elastic, durable and licks up moisture beautifully.

What about the itchiness?

Her theory is that the skin of the foot is the least sensitive and should take to wool well even if the rest of my body does not. It seems to make sense. I am going to try her suggestion because I do have a few skeins of wool sock yarns that I do not know what to do with.

I hope you have found these tips useful. Let me know if you have tried them out.

Books for Sock Knitting

Custom Socks: knit to fit your feet by Kate Atherley ISBN: 9781620337776

I have mentioned this book a couple of times in the post. It is really useful. I got it from my public library. It has an electronic version too.

Not only does it cover tips on how to knit socks successfully, but it also has about 15+ patterns.

Packed full of information on how to design and custom hand-knitted socks. I highly recommend it.

Sock Knitting master class: innovative techniques + patterns from top designers by Ann Budd ISBN: 9781620333143

This book features a wide variety of innovative styles for various parts of the socks with good descriptions and explanations.

When Knitting A Tension Square is a Good Idea

Knitting a tension square is quite a hassle so I want to find out why it is a good idea and how to do it easily.

knitting a tension square
Image source: Garnstudio at https://vimeo.com/7068822

A tension square is also known as a gauge swatch. It is supposed to be a square piece of knitting that contains the gauge.

What is Gauge?

In a typical knitting pattern, you will see something like this:

Gauge: 16 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches / 10 cm

A specific number of rows and stitches that makes up 4 inches or 10 cm.

This means that your knitting should produce 4 inches of knitted fabric consisting of 24 rows and 16 stitches using the recommended yarn and knitting needles.

Why is gauge important?

If I am knitting dishcloths, blankets, or bags, I am not going to knit tension squares to check gauge. It is not a big deal. But I will do so for socks, hats, gloves, and garments.

Why? Because I want my knitted items to fit me and the people I knit them for.

Personal experience taught me that the type of yarns I used, the type of needles I use, and the stitches or textures I am knitting affect how tight or loose my knitting is. So, if I want my finished project to have the same measurement as that of the pattern I am using, I must check my tension against the given gauge.

The recommended way of doing this is by knitting a tension square. The general instructions are to make it, wash it, and dry it before measuring.

How To Knit a Tension Square?

The simplest way is to cast on the desired number of stitches and knit the desired number of rows. The most common complaints of this method are uneven edges and curling. Another complaint is the likelihood of the swatch or square being too small.

The video tutorial below recommends adding a garter stitch border around the square and adding additional stitches and rows. I find this video quite comprehensive for a beginner knitter. At the 15 min mark, she demonstrates how to count the stitches and rows.

I find measuring and counting stitches and rows in a gauge swatch a real pain. Fortunately, there are tools to help. One of them is a tension square ruler. I like this one.

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What happens when your gauge is different?

I think I can say for all knitters that when we start a tension square, we want to achieve the gauge. Because if we don’t, it means doing it all over again. Ugh!

But missing gauge happens more often than we want it to. So what do we do when we do not get gauge?

Firstly, we can ignore the gauge. A knitter wrote that just being aware is enough. This works for items that may not need the perfect fit. I would ignore gauge for mittens, scarfs, cowls, shawls especially if it is off by a little.

If we cannot ignore, then we need to interpret the gauge difference.

If you have more rows than recommended, your project will be too long. If you have fewer rows, your project will be too short.

It is unlikely that your mismatched gauge will only be in the rows. But if it is, there is no need to change anything, just knit more or fewer rows to get the measurement.

Changing needles

Too many stitches meant that the tension is tight. The project is going to be smaller than expected. The remedy is to use larger needles. Too few stitches meant that the tension is loose, the project is going to be larger than expected. The remedy is to use smaller needles.

Changing yarns

Another way to get gauge is to substitute the yarns. So far, most instructions assume you are using the recommended yarns. So the suggestion is to change the needles. But changing yarns is also an option.

Changing the way you knit

I knit using the English style most of the time. But I do know how to do Continental too. I noticed my tension is looser when I knit using the Continental style. If you are a super tight knitter, you might want to consider practising loosening up a bit.

Shortcuts to Knitting the Tension Square

I still do not like knitting tension squares. I am not an A+ student in knitting. So, are there shortcuts?

Question: Why 4 inches or 10 centimetres?

I came across this gauge ruler that only has measurement for 2 inches.

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Does this mean I do not necessarily need to knit 4 inches worth of stitches and rows? 2 inches would do? A thought to consider. It would literally halve the time needed.

I can understand why 4 inches was recommended. Without a measuring tool, 2-inch squares would be too small to measure properly.

Techknitter of https://techknitting.blogspot.com suggested replacing knitting tension squares with gauge-less objects. For example, scarves, potholders, pillow tops, and quilt squares. It is not a shortcut, per se and it definitely appeals to the practical knitter. More details at https://techknitting.blogspot.com/2007/02/gauge-less-gauge-swatches-or-dating.html.

She also suggests thinking of knitting a tension square as yarn dating.

Uncovering The SSK Knitting Technique

The SSK knitting technique can be confusing. Find out why.

ssk knitting

You see this knitting abbreviation frequently in knitting patterns and instructions. It is a technique to make a left-slanting decrease. It reduces two stitches to one. And it is commonly used for shaping, binding off or to create lace patterns.

Why Bother with the SSK Knitting Technique?

When I first started knitting, I did not really care which technique I use to do decreases. I learnt k2tog first and it was easy to remember, so I use K2tog for all my decreases. It was alright for a while until I started working on lace projects. The lace patterns did not turn up as nice when I replace the SKPO or SSK with K2tog.

I want my lace projects to look good so I know it is time to learn more techniques if I really want my knitting to improve.

When I was researching the SSK knitting technique on the Internet, I discovered that the description and instructions differ slightly with different knitters.

The common things that knitters say about SSK are:

  1. It is a one-stitch decrease
  2. It produces a left-slanting decrease
  3. It is the mirror image of knit 2 stitches together (abbreviated as k2tog), which makes a right-slanting decrease.

From here, variations start to pop up.

I think I finally figured out why after some additional research work.

How to Slip Slip Knit (Original)

SSK knitting instruction is written as follows:

  1. Slip the first stitch as if to knit
  2. Slip the second stitch as if to knit
  3. Knit these two stitches together through the back loop  

Problem with the SSK Knitting Technique

Although SSK and K2tog are supposed to be mirror stitches, k2tog always seems neater and tidier than the SSK. Apparently, many knitters are unhappy with the way it looks.

Suzanne Bryan, in the video below, discussed why it is so. According to her, the yarn unravels slightly or untwist slightly when it is slipped from left to right needle knitwise. This creates an “untidy” decrease compared to the K2tog.

She then offers a few tips on how to knit tidier SSK.

One of the suggestions is to slip the second stitch purlwise rather than knitwise. So an SSK knitting technique can be written like this:

  1. Slip the first stitch as if to knit
  2. Slip the second stitch as if to purl
  3. Knit these two stitches together through the back loop

Susanne said that if you are going to be slipping the second stitch purlwise, you might as well not slip it. So the instructions would be:

  1. Slip the first stitch as if to knit
  2. Slip the first stitch back to the left needle
  3. Knit two stitches together through the back loop

What do you think? Confusing right?

I have a tight tension, so I think I stick with the original instruction.

Is SSK the same as SKPO?

SKPO stands for Slip Knit Pass Over. Some knitters (including Suzanne Bryan) say that SKPO is the same as SSK and that it produces a neater and slimmer left-slanting decrease.

I have always knit my left-slanting decreases using SKPO, I did not know that the SSK knitting technique is not the same as SKPO until I saw the video by Hands on Knitting Center.

She shows the difference between the two quite clearly. Fast forward to 5.05m where she starts discussing them. The first part of the video is more on demonstrating how to do K2tog and SSK using both the Continental and English styles.

Although both reduces two stitches to one, they do look different.

I am really happy with my discovery of the SSK knitting technique. I am not going to mix SSK and SKPO up anymore.

10 Balaclava Knitting Pattern Ideas from Children to Adults

Looking for a balaclava knitting pattern? Find 10 free patterns for children and adults. From purely functional to the quirky.

balaclava knitting pattern

A balaclava is described as a hat that exposes only part of the face. For example, only the eyes are exposed. Or both eyes and nose are exposed. Or only the eyes, nose and mouth are exposed. I think a head-covering is a more accurate name. It serves as both a hat and a scarf, providing warmth and coverage for the head, ears, and neck.

Most balaclava feature an opening in the front. Depending on the size of the opening, the bottom part can be stretched to reveal or cover different parts of the face. The top part can also be pulled behind your head revealing the head.

Why is it called Balaclava?

This head-covering is named after the town of Balaclava during the Crimean War in 1854. It was originally worn by Russian soldiers. It is now popular with skiers, climbers and bikers because it is flexible and warm. The design and colours have also developed from there.

The Balaclava lends itself well to knitting since knitting provides the stretch required.

There are 10 balaclava knitting patterns here: 5 for adults, 5 for kids.

Bulky Yarn Knit Balaclava Pattern

Image source: https://www.handylittleme.com/bulky-knit-balaclava-pattern/

Designed by Louise of Handy Little Me, this is a cosy head-covering suitable for winter using super bulky yarn. The recommended yarn is Drops Eskimo Print – 27 Rust Print.

Knitting techniques that you need to know would be knit, purl, k2tog and knitting in the round.

The instructions could do with headings to signpost which part of the balaclava you are working on. But I think it is basically cast on for the neck and work all the way to the top of the head.

This free pattern is available at https://www.handylittleme.com/bulky-knit-balaclava-pattern/

Travs Balaclava Knitting Pattern

Designed by Sam from The Complete Fabrication.

It is a simple no-frill balaclava knitting pattern suitable for guys. The opening is stretchable enough to pull down over the chin or pull back over the head.

Knitted in the round from the neck up. You need to know how to cast off and cast on in the middle of the work. You can pick one from the cast-off and cast on lists on this site.

This free pattern is available at http://thecompletefabrication.blogspot.com/2008/06/travs-balaclava.html

Knit Helmet

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is knit-helmet.jpg

Made available by the Seamen’s Church Institute. According to them, seafarers who work on ship decks and gangways love this. I have no idea why they call this a helmet.

It resembles Travs Balaclava. The pattern offers two ways to knit this balaclava. One way is similar to Travs: knit in the round. The other way is knit flat. For knitters who do not like knitting in the round, this is a good pattern to try.

This free printable PDF pattern is available at https://cas.seamenschurch.org/sites/default/files/sci-helmet.pdf

From Russia With Love Cabled Balaclava

Designed by Nikol Lohr of The Thrifty Knitter.

This pretty balaclava is knitted in the round from neck up to the crown. A branching cable travels up the balaclava from the neck up to the crown. I am always curious how decreasing work with cables. Nikol has a neat way of doing it.

Nikol provides step by step instructions together with pictures on how to knit the branching cables.

The opening is created by leaving live stitches and casting on stitches with the cable cast-on method. Again, Nikol provides detailed instructions on how to make up the opening with a neat edge.

This free pattern is available at https://makezine.com/2009/09/29/from_russia_with_love_cabled_b/

Jackyll & Hide

Designed by Saskia de Feijter, this pattern is both a pretty cap and a scary Halloween head-covering inspired by Jack Skellington of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Knitted in the round starting with 8 rows of garter stitch at the neck. This is followed by a 3-inch stockinette stitch, 4-inch 2×2 ribbing, 5-inch stockinette stitch up to eye holes, eye holes, and decreasing stitches to shape the crown.

The closure at the crown of the hat is interesting. Like a cross.

The free pattern is available at https://knitty.com/ISSUEfall07/PATTjh.html

Additional knitting notes regarding the eye-holes at http://sasknitsitagain.blogspot.com/2008/12/jackll-hide-go-wonkers.html

Kids Balaclava knitting patterns

People who have experienced dressing young children for cold weather can appreciate and understand the charm of the balaclava. It acts as a hat and scarf or cowl in a single piece. Pull it over the head of the child and it stays there securely. No anxious fumbling with the scarf or picking up beanies for active fussy children who like pulling their hats off.

5 balaclava knitting patterns for kids here. All of them feature a single opening for the face.

Seamless Kitty Cat Balaclava

Image source: Valerie Johnson at Ravelry.com

The seamless kitty cat balaclava is designed by Valerie Johnson of Wandering Cat Studio. The pattern has instructions for children from age 2, 4 and 6. Gauge is 5 stitches and 6.5 rows to 1 inch in stockinette stitch.

Start at the face opening with ribbing, followed by flat knitting for the head. Shaping for ears and back of the head is achieved by increasing and decreasing stitches and short rows.

Valerie included helpful notes and abbreviations in the pattern. I like how she created clear sections for each part of the balaclava: face opening, head, first ear, second ear, back of the head, and neck.

Her pattern also included pictures of the balaclava which helps knitters check whether they are on track.

The free pattern available at https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/seamless-kitty-cat-hat

Little Gnome Balaclava Knitting Pattern

Baby Balaclava
Image source: knittedpatterns.com

Little Gnome is offered free by Yarnspiration. The pattern is professionally written with instructions and measurements for 3 sizes.

You will need 3.75mm and 4mm knitting needles.

The cast on row is at the face opening. Do take care to read the instructions a couple of times to get a general idea of how the piece is to be knitted up.

I like the inclusion of the number of stitches that you should have on your working needles at the end of each row of instructions.

You must know how to pick up stitches from a garter stitch edge. I find Knit Purl Hunter‘s tips helpful.

The pattern is available at https://www.yarnspirations.com/row-en/bernat-little-gnome-hat/BRK0216-003916M.html

Bunnyclava Knitting Pattern

We have a cat and gnome-inspired balaclavas, how can we leave the bunny out?

Designed by Wendy Poush. It is free until further notice. 🙂

Bunnyclava is worked in the round starting from the neck up to the top of the head. The opening is shaped using short rows with increases and decreases over the forehead. The opening is big enough to tuck under the chin.

The ears are not knitted separately and then sewn into the hat. It is firmly attached to the hat because it is picked up and knitted directly onto the hat.

You will need to have 5mm circular needles about 16 inch or 40cm long. Instructions are only for a single size. The finished product measures about 17.75 inch in circumference but we all know this depends on our knitting tension, and yarns used.

The pattern is available at https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bunnyclava-toddler-balaclava

Winter Jolly Balaclava Knitting Pattern

Designed by Drops with sizes for children age 3 to 12.

You will need 2.5mm circular knitting needles that are about 40cm long.

This balaclava is worked from the neck up. There are distinct sections for the bottom, upper piece, tail and pom-pom.

The language and terms used are not standard pattern terms. I think it is because the pattern is translated into English. Do spend some time to read the instructions.

The free pattern is available at https://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=5397&cid=17

Dice Check Balaclava Knitting Pattern

Designed by Gretchen Tracey of http://www.ballstothewallsknits.com/.

This three-colour balaclava has an unusual construction. Gretchen gave an overview. There is a knitted strip where stitches are picked up from both sides to create the sides of the head. After the head is knitted flat, the work is joined in the round to knit the neck. The opening for the face has a ribbed edging. It cannot be adjusted.

In my opinion, this pattern is for a seasoned knitter. You have to take care of the colourwork and the shaping work.

This free web-based pattern is available at http://www.ballstothewallsknits.com/2014/02/kids-dice-check-balaclava.html

I hope you find this list useful. If you try any of the patterns listed here, do let me know.